Magazine March 2010

All the latest news from the world of textiles

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litespeed® – An environment-friendly development

The environment problem - increasingly a topic of discussion, especially in the media - is influencing people's steadily-growing environmental awareness. As a result there has been an increasing readiness over the past few years to take action with regard to environmental protection and gentleness on resources.

Enormous energy savings

The litespeed® needle is an ecologically aware development by Groz-Beckert with an emphasis on environmental protection and sustainability. This needle for use in high-speed circular knitting machines corresponds to the standard needle precisely in terms of the dimensions relevant for loop formation. A partial reduction of the shank thickness has reduced the weight of the needle, as well as friction in the needle trick. This means that less energy is needed for needle movement - resulting in lower knitting-machine power consumption.

In these days of ever scarcer energy resources, with the simultaneous and dramatic rise in energy prices, use of the litespeed® needle lower energy consumption by up to 20 percent.

Reduced temperatures

The reduction in weight and in friction also has a positive effect on the heating of the cam parts and of the needle cylinder. In practical application, modern high-speed circular knitting machines reach temperatures of up to 100° Celsius at the cylinder or cam. Handling problems with the knitting machine in the cam area, and during needle and sinker changes, are thus inevitable.

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Use of the litespeed® needle lowers the machine temperature by up to 20 percent. This means that the machine cools down within a shorter time period to the temperature at which, for instance, a needle and sinker change in the cam area is possible. The machine temperature also has a significant influence on the room temperature. Lowering the temperature of the machine leads to lower room temperatures - so energy used for air conditioning can also be saved.

Innovation in detail

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The partially reduced thickness of the needle shank also enables improved distribution of the needle oil. In combination with the lower machine temperature, the optimised oil-pump behaviour leads to a reduction in oil consumption.

The oil does not fog as easily, i.e. oil emission in the air is sharply reduced. Moreover, the reduced shank thickness means that less oil from the needle trick reaches the fabric, making further processing in the textile chain environmentally-friendly. The partial reduction in thickness described makes the litespeed® needle more flexible and therefore more durable. The shockwaves caused by the needle butt hitting the cams are cushioned, reducing the danger of needle breakage. In combination with the other advantages of the litespeed® needle, the improved flexibility of the needle shank enables higher machining speeds and, as a result, higher productivity. Alongside this improvement there is also the sustainability of the litespeed® development. The reduced weight and improved flexibility of the litespeed® needle avoids needle breakage, reduces needle and crank wear as well as cam part wear. As a result, less faulty parts need to be prematurely replaced with new ones. The service life of all parts and components can be optimally utilized, which again is gentle on resources for long-term sustainability.

An example reveals the enormous savings potential presented by use of the litespeed® needle. The needle set of a circular knitting machine (34 inch, E28), with 3,000 standard needles, has (in China, for instance) an average service life of over 5,000 hours. The amount of energy required for this creates roughly 9,000 kg of CO2 emissions. The use of litespeed® needles sharply reduces energy consumption, thereby minimising CO2 emissions to roughly 7,500 kg. The 1,500 kg of CO2 thus saved are equivalent to the amount of CO2 produced by a plane flight of 3,800 km.

Groz-Beckert is awarded the KYOCERA Environment Prize

On April 29, 2010 Groz-Beckert gained third place at the KYOCERA Environment Prize for the litespeed® project. For more information go to the article "Environment Prize", which is also part of this Online Newsletter.